Wittek, R., M. van Duijn, T.A.B. Snijders (2001). Informele netwerken en escalatie van conflicten in een managementteam. Sociale Wetenschappen 44 (1), 48-67
Lindenberg’s relational signaling theory is used to develop hypotheses on the link between relationship strength, network embeddedness, organizational context and social escalation of conflicts in organizations. Social escalation is defined as the incorporation of one or more third parties into a conflict. An empirical test is conducted with data on 67 conflicts between 22 managers, gathered during three years of ethnographic fieldwork and a longitudinal network study in a management team of a German Paper Factory. Multilevel analysis indicates that strong ties between conflicting parties decrease the level of social escalation, but this effect becomes weaker over time. Network embeddedness increases the chances for social escalation between unrelated conflict parties only at later stages of the conflict. The results highlight the importance of organizational contexts as a key determinant of escalation processes.